Construction risks in Qatar jeopardize workers

Construction risks in Qatar jeopardize workers

Spencer Saltz, sports editor/staff writer

How does one justify death? A proper death is having someone you love by your side, or going to fight for your country. No one imagines their death being as ignored as a pawn in a chess game, yet that is what has happened in preparation for the Qatar World Cup in 2022. According to the guardian, over 6,500 migrant workers have died in the last ten years preparing for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, which equates to about 12.5 deaths per week and 1.8 deaths per day. 

These numbers are inexcusable, and not only are these people dying, but those who continue to build these stadiums and architecture are forced to live in horrific and disgusting conditions. According to Pete Pattison, a reporter of The Guardian, these migrant workers are brought to “labor camps”. “And then when they get to the labor camps, they live in often truly squalid conditions with eight, 10, sometimes 12 men sharing a room, appalling unhygienic toilets and kitchens. These are really not places that human beings should have to live in.”

During the same interview with NPR, Pattison went on to say, “The abuse of migrant workers in Qatar, in Saudi Arabia, in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere in the Gulf has been going on for years. What the international community needs to do is to step up and demand reform on these widespread abuses. The World Cup is a catalyst for this. Qatar chose the spotlight of the World Cup. Everyone in the world loves football, and they don’t want to see their sport tainted by workers rights abuse.”

As someone who plays soccer and loves the entire game, my first reaction to these numbers and stories was “well, they’re already dead, and a boycott won’t bring them back, so teams might as well go along.” However, as I went along and thought about these injustices, the more I realized that if there were to be no boycott of an event like this, then it sets the standard of what we expect from the next host nations, but more importantly, it gives acceptance to how migrant workers are treated. No life should be thrown aside as just a statistic, there must be something done about it. We live in a time of protest and a time of change. The Qatari government should not be given a free pass, and reap the benefits of revenue from attendance and viewership of fans. The only people who can stop this are the players, and as of now, there has not even been a single player who has called out the brutality against migrant workers. For a society moving toward an equal and just world, these are the events that define what kind of generation this is.